GTHQ Jaunt Journal – Hotel: Fairmont Baku – Baku, Azerbaijan
Location: Mehdi Huseyn Street 1A, Bakı 1006 – 15 minute walk to the old city
Baku is a vibrant city which surprised us with its interesting architecture and great food. The people seemed reserved at first glance but once you interacted with them, most would open up. Service was friendly and overall good but not very polished even in upscale restaurants.
We stayed at the Fairmont Baku which was well located and had an amazing view. It is located in one of the 3 Flame Towers visible from almost anywhere in the city.
We booked a 1 bedroom Suite which had a city view and what a view it was. It was a very comfortable 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) and it was situated in a corner edge facing the other flame towers and viewing a portion of the bay. We received a few tasty Azerbaijani delights as a welcome gift.
Upon entering there is a guest bathroom immediately to the right. The flat contains a separate large living room with small office area and a bedroom with a king size bed and a luxurious marble bathroom that has a separate huge shower, bathtub and toilet area.
The décor is chic and contemporary with a large 46 inch HD television in the bedroom and a 55 inch HD television in the living room. There is a Nespresso Machine and fully stocked mini-bar but I was a bit surprised that the hotel did not use actual Nespresso capsules but cheaper imitation capsules. The main bathroom has a small television as well which can be seen from the tub or the bench in the shower.
One of my favorite features was that each section of the living room, the bedroom and the bathroom had various light settings and there were shade and sheer controls that were all automated and easily accessible.
This is a relatively new property that just opened 2 years ago in 2013. The grand entrance has an opulent feeling lined with high end showcases with jewelry. Very modern and tons of automated technology throughout.
There are 8 different food and drink outlets on the property. We tested two onsite restaurants. The first was Alov Steakhouse. Decoration was impeccable. The food was good but not great – I had Azerbaijani ribeye steak and my wife had a nice burger.
We also ordered two appetizers: mushroom and sweet potato/beef soups. They were well presented and tasted great. They end by bringing a large block of Belgium chocolate which you can tear into and break off your piece. 4 out 5 stars.
The second property was the Bistro restaurant. We ordered a Minestrone soup and a pizza. The minestrone was a bit disappointing as the main ingredient – beans – were nowhere to be found. The pizza was actually better than I expected and that’s saying something as I’m married to an Italian and Italy is an hour away from our home. However, overall I would rate this restaurant 3 out of 5 stars.
Breakfast was served in the Bistro restaurant and there was a good spread with the normal offerings: eggs, fruits, vegetables, etc.
I also took advantage of the spa and booked a 1 hour massage at Espa. I arrived a bit early and they immediately took me to the relaxation lounge where I could get in the mood. It was spacious, well decorated, and I was the only guest so I had the entire steam room and sauna to myself. After explaining the focus areas, the massage started and was very professional and the ambiance was comfortable.
The outdoor pool was closed due to the colder and windier season approaching. However, the smaller indoor pool and Jacuzzis were open. The pool area also had a huge sauna, steam room and hammam.
All in all, this was one of our favorite hotel suites. The view was impressive and the room had a great relaxing feel to it. It would be what I would look for in a flat that I would rent in NYC or any other major city with skyscrapers.
They provided my wife with workout clothes and shoes free of charge during our stay as we are Premier members with Fairmont.
The location was quite good as its only 1 KM from the old walled city which was constructed somewhere between the 7th and 12th century CE and I recommend visiting.
We ate lunch at a small café called Merci Baku. Quite clean and we chose typical Azerbaijani foods which were fantastic.
Service in general is quite good in Baku (50% of jobs are in the service industry) and many go out of their way to speak English as much as possible.
One other thing: cats are everywhere and we love animals!
The Good: The view and feel of the suite. Definitely recommended.
The Bad: Imitation Nespresso capsules in a suite that costs about the average monthly rent outside of the city center
The Ugly: Bistro cafe’s minestrone soups